17 Fall Dates That Cost You Absolutely Nothing

Isn’t fall the best? Cozy sweaters, falling leaves, crackling fires, hot chocolate—everything about the season screams cuddly romantic days and nights with your significant other. Personally, I love apple picking, pumpkin picking and the ever-ubiquitous pumpkin spice lattes. For couples on a budget like myself, here are 17 fall dates that cost you absolutely nothing.

1. Take a hike—literally.

Hikes are one of the easiest and most beautiful dates in the fall. Plan your date when the foliage near you is best. These maps are perfect for planning your hike to see the prettiest leaves. New to hiking? This site offers great tools to find the best trail for you, near you. Think of all the Insta-worthy photos that will come out of your hike.

2. Netflix and chill with a horror movie marathon.

One of you is bound to already have a Netflix subscription. Pop some popcorn and curl up under a super comfy throw and watch any of the countless horror movies streaming in October in honor of Halloween. Available right now are movies like The Sixth Sense, Jaws, Gremlins, It Follows and more.

3. Scare yourself silly with reading ghost stories in the dark.

Head to your local library and check out the creepiest anthology of ghost stories you can find. Turn out the lights and add some candlelight for a romantic yet spooky touch. Get into bed and see who can make the other scared enough to sleep with the lights on.

4. Go on a hayride.

Many farms offer free hayrides with the expectation patrons will purchase pumpkins or apples. Skip the fall produce and just go on a relaxing afternoon hayride together, taking in the fresh air and beautiful scenery.

5. Volunteer together.

Volunteering is a great, completely free way to have a fall date together. Search for the perfect cause for you both and get to doing some good! Whether you want to work at a soup kitchen, or spend time with adoptable animals, there’s something for everyone.

6. Take little cousins, friends or your own young ones trick-or-treating.

Get nostalgic and take your friends’ kids, your kids, little cousins or whoever is young enough to trick-or-treat out and feel like a kid again. If you ask extra nicely maybe they’ll share some candy with you. Snickers fun size anyone?

7. Bake something with supplies in your pantry.

Happy couple playing with halloween pumpkins at home

Everybody knows fall and winter are baking season. Check out what’s in your pantry and create something delicious in your oven. When it’s ready, feed each other your baked delight and get ready for some serious fun in the bedroom afterwards.

8. Go star-gazing.

Put some hot chocolate in thermoses and drive out to an open field or remote area near you. Lay out a cozy blanket, curl up next to each other and enjoy a night under the stars, gazing at our gorgeous universe. Fall is the perfect time for checking out the stars, as your partner and you can stay nice and warm with each other’s body heat.

9. Have a game night in.

Get seriously sexy and have a night of strip poker by a roaring fireplace. Loser does whatever the winner wants to do once clothes are all off.

10. Go to your local high school football game.

You don’t necessarily have to actually go to the game and sit on the bleachers. Park your car close enough so you can see what’s going on and have fun together in your car, constantly making sure no teachers or adults are watching. Call it a little nostalgic fun!

11. Try on Halloween costumes.

halloween couple in love

Head to your local pop-up Halloween shop (think stores like Spirit Halloween) and see who can find the most ridiculous costume to try on. Take photos for a super funny Snapchat feed.

12. Make care packages for the troops.

The last half of the fall, particularly Thanksgiving leading up to the holidays can be very rough on troops overseas working to keep us safe. Pack care packages and send them through organizations like Operation Gratitude, which is currently looking for donated Halloween candy for deployed troops and first responders.

13. Make a bonfire and invite friends over for a group date.

Have a group date around a bonfire and have friends bring over s’more supplies. Group dates can be a fun change from just the two of you. Bonfires are great for some quality time catching up with friends.

14. Head to your local park and play like kids again.

Swing on the swings, slide down the slide, go across the monkey bars—everything you did when you flirted with those you were interested in in the fifth and sixth grades, have at it as adults. Enjoy feeling like kids again for an extra flirty time on the playground.

15. Visit a local yard sale.

Many households tend to do a big fall clean and yard sales begin popping up in September and October. Wander around local yard sales and check out the zany items people sell.

16. Have an in-home spa day.

Give your guy a mani-pedi and have him give you a massage in return. Make it one of the most relaxing date nights you’ll ever have with spa treatments using just your hands and simple tools you have at home.

17. Tour your local city or town.

Spend a beautiful fall afternoon in your local city or town, touring all the local landmarks and chances are, you may stumble across some fun (and free!) events.

15 Exciting Holiday Adventures For Single People

Single this season but still looking to have some fun? Here are some unique ways to enjoy yourself this holiday.

Isn’t the holiday season the best? Single or attached, I’ve always loved celebrating all the magic of this time of year. When I was single, I got a little more creative to assure I had a blast in December.

Here are just some ideas on how to have a wonderful time as a single woman this season.

1. Throw your own party.

I adore entertaining and have hosted a holiday party every year since I left college. When I was single, I adored getting to see all of my friends in one place. It was fun to catch up over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Pinterest has tons of party ideas to make sure your holiday party is the can’t miss féte of the season.

2. Take a staycation.

Chances are, where you’re currently living has plenty to offer. Take advantage of special holiday adventure hotel deals, spa treatments and more and book a staycation. Consider taking yourself out to dinner too. It may feel over indulgent or awkward at first but by simply taking a deep breath and relishing in the moment, you’ll begin to feel it.

What is “it” you may ask? Consider this, as a single woman you won’t have to worry about finding the perfect gift for your significant other or going through the stress of meeting his parents over the holidays.

3. Let loose at a holiday party.

You’re unattached, why not have some fun? Don’t feel bashful about going to a holiday party you’re invited to solo. Who knows, you may find the perfect person to steal a kiss under the mistletoe.

4. Start a new tradition.

Being unattached means you get to do what you want. Now is a great time to start your own traditions. Whether it’s grabbing a peppermint mocha and taking a walk to check out the Christmas lights, or ordering in Chinese and watching Christmas Vacation, embrace the chance to create memories all your own.

winter leisure

5. Reconnect with old friends.

When you’re home for the holidays, you don’t have to worry about entertaining a significant other. Instead, use the time to reconnect with old friends you’ve lost touch with. Not only will you be making personal connections again, there are also multiple opportunities for networking.

6. Volunteer.

Use the holiday downtime to consider volunteering at a local organization near you. If you’re feeling lonely or unfulfilled during this season, getting involved with a place you’re passionate about could work wonders.

7. Get to know your neighbors.

Apartment life can get lonely sometimes. Knock on your neighbor’s door this season and invite them to coffee or lunch. I mean, it did wonders for Leonard and Penny in The Big Bang Theory.

8. Get to know your city.

While everyone else is frantically figuring out what to wear for the ultimate holiday date night, you can have the opportunity to really get to know your city. Try that new restaurant or bar around the corner, or visit the museum you’ve always wanted to check out. Some holiday romance may be just outside your door.

9. Embrace hygge.

Hygge, pronounced “hygge,” is a Danish term that refers to a general sense of coziness and charm, whether alone or with friends, in your home or out. By embracing this philosophy, your solo holiday season may become just a bit brighter.

friends on vacation

10. Take a holiday-themed class.

Look for classes on ornament making, wreath designing or cooking a holiday dish. Before you know it you just may turn into the next Martha Stewart!

11. Take your little nieces and nephews to visit Santa.

Relive your childhood with a trip to the mall to see Santa. Get nostalgic and jump in for a photo yourself!

12. Buy yourself a sexy new outfit.

You’ve given so many gifts this season, it’s time you treat yourself. Head to your favorite boutique or clothing store and pick out a sexy new holiday outfit for all the parties you’ll head to. Buy some lingerie to match too for some extra oomph.

13. Organize a holiday-themed girls’ night.

Get all your best girlfriends together and see a holiday movie (may I recommend Bad Mom’s Christmas?) and go out for drinks after. No boys allowed!

14. Visit your local ice-skating rink.

Unleash your inner Tara Lipinski and head to your local ice-skating rink with your best friends. Enjoy an evening under the stars, laughing as you glide over the ice and fall down a few times too. End the day with some spiked hot chocolate back at your place.

15. Host a tree-trimming party.

Visit your local Christmas tree stand and buy a tree to put up in your home. Invite all your friends over for a fun evening decorating your tree.

Stay positive as a single person this season with these fun holiday experiences.

Being single during the holiday season isn’t a sentence for six weeks of loneliness. The truth is, being single over the most festive time of the year is a great time to enjoy yourself, have fun and explore new opportunities and experiences. These ideas don’t require lots of time and money, just an open mind and lots of optimism during this sparkly season.

If you’re still feeling lonely, check out these tips on how to cope with the blues this season.

15 Sexy Holiday Dates to Get You in the Mood This Festive Season

Looking to spice it up this holiday season? We’ve got some perfect sexy date ideas for you.

The holiday season can be a hectic time of year. Take some time out for your significant other and yourself and enjoy these super sexy dates.

Here are just some ideas on how to make this holiday your sexiest yet.

1. Dinner and a striptease.

Make a cozy dinner together at home with some known aphrodisiac foods. When you’re done, surprise your partner with a sexy striptease with a holiday twist. Santa Baby or better yet, Jingle Bell Rock with the “Plastics” outfit from Mean Girls anyone?

2. A winter workout.

Go for a frosty hike or some old-school sledding. Your flushed cheeks and having to grab on to your guy or girl will be sure to ignite some “warming” up by the fire later.

3. Visit a cozy bar.

Curl up by the fireplace at your favorite cozy bar and get extra cuddly as you sip cold weather cocktails like a Manhattan or hot toddy. All that cuddling in public will inevitably lead to some private fun at home.

4. Take a bubble bath together.

Take an extra soapy, hot bubble bath together. Light some candles and play some smoky, jazzy holiday music (Diana Krall’s “Christmas Songs” is a great pick). It’s your call as to what goes on below the bubbles.

5. Have a snowball fight.

Think about when you were younger and how you flirted by chasing after boys on the playground. Having a snowball fight is a fun and flirty precursor to some seriously hot sex later that night.

6. Bake holiday cookies.

I find baking seriously sexy. Why? Think about how much fun you can have as you make cookies–licking icing off each other’s fingers, flinging flour at each other, kissing lips that taste sweet. Yum.

7. Take a ski weekend.

Go skiing for a weekend together. If you aren’t much of a skier, settle in the cabin’s hot tub with some bubbly and get ready for steamy seductive fun.

8. Take a couple’s massage class.

Sign up to take a couple’s massage class and learn all the techniques that make your partner swoon. There’s nothing like a good massage as foreplay to get you in the mood.

9. Role play—holiday style.

Tongue and Cheek role play together with a holiday theme. Maybe you’re two people in an airport who meet over drinks when their plane is delayed and end up joining the mile high club. You could be home alone while your significant other is traveling for the holidays.  Your SO role plays as your neighbor who fulfills your needs just at the right time.

10. Eat a fancy dinner out—and get a little handsy.

Go for a holiday dinner out to a fancy restaurant in town. Get a little kinky under the table with your hands while you wait for your main course to arrive. The thrill of potentially being caught is enough to keep you going for a long time.

11. Watch holiday movies—in your underwear.

Netflix your favorite holiday movie and get cozy in bed or on the couch. Don some sexy lingerie and reindeer antlers and have your guy put on boxers and a Santa hat. See how long you actually watch the movie.

12. Play your favorite childhood games, with a dirty twist.

Lovers Around The Campfire At Night

Heat up some hot chocolate, light a fire and snuggle by the tree. Think of steamy games you played growing up and make them extra racy. Ideas include strip poker or sexy truth or dare. The possibilities are endless!

13. Attend a tree lighting.

Your city or neighborhood tree lighting seems innocent enough right? Not when you make out during the ceremony. Chances are the tree won’t be the only thing lighting up as you two make merry.

14. Get a quickie in during your work’s holiday party.

If you’re headed to your significant other’s work party this season, sneak off during the festivities for a quickie in the bathroom or an office. You’ll be sure to spice up an otherwise boring holiday party.

15. Volunteer.

There’s something positively sexy about doing some good, isn’t there? Volunteer at your favorite organization this season and when you’re done, chances are you’ll feel ready to have a romp in bed when you get home.

These sexy holiday dates will surely get you in the mood this festive season.

Skip the boring old dinner and a movie. Take any of our 15 sexy holiday date ideas and get ready for some seriously hot fun. From dinner and a striptease to an extra fizzy bubble bath, there’s something for every couple to try this holiday.

If you want some advice on how to make the most of your holidays together, check out these romantic relationship tips for the holidays.

17 Ways to Spice Up Your Valentine’s Day if You’re Tired of Flowers and Candy

Tired of the same old flowers and candy? Here are 17 ways to make your V-Day memorable.

Many have a love-hate relationship with Valentine’s Day. Sometimes, the same old roses and chocolates routine year after year can get boring.

Personally, I love doing something different every Valentine’s Day, even if it’s just a simple movie and making dinner at home. My favorite romantic meal to make is steak, veggies and popovers, but the options are limitless.

For couples who want to spice up their Valentine’s Day, here are 17 ways to make it a great one.

1. Book a boudoir photography session.

This will take a bit of planning before the big day. Find a local photographer and book a sexy boudoir session with them. Sometimes there are even Groupons.

Boudoirs are reminiscent of pin-up girls and are often intimate and romantic. Be sure to pose in your significant other’s favorite lingerie of yours for an erotic touch. Gift the photos to your partner on Valentine’s Day to get them in the mood. Then get ready for a night of bedroom fun.

2. Start the day off with some shower sex.

Even if you don’t have any plans, given that Valentine’s Day is on a Wednesday, start your work day off right and surprise your loved one with some good old-fashioned shower sex. Chances are, it will leave them wanting more post-work fun.

3. Consider adding some edible accessories to the mix.

If you’ve always wanted to try adding some flavor to sex, consider the ever ubiquitous whipped cream or some flavored lube. Some flavors are actually really tasty! You could even buy a few different flavors an do a taste test.

4. Volunteer together.

Valentine’s Day is all about love, right? Show some love to others and change up your Valentine’s routine with a volunteer session. VolunteerMatch.org pairs you with the best option for you.

5. 50 Shades it.

Get seriously sexy and take a page from the popular 50 Shades of Grey books and movies. There’s nothing like a little BDSM to spice up the most romantic day of the year. You don’t have to be a billionaire to tie your partner up and most floggers are available for under $50.

6. Get home from work before your partner and transform your place.

Leave work early on Valentine’s Day and transform your home into a romantic wonderland. Light candles, turn on a playlist of your favorite love-making music and lock the door so you have to answer it wearing just a little babydoll chemise.

loving married couple

7. Go hands free.

Post dinner when things get sexy, instead of touching each other with your hands, use every other part of your body—breasts, thighs, hair, tongue—the possibilities are endless.

You have incredibly soft parts of your body you don’t even think about. You might be surprised how great it feels to have a soft nose tracing up your neck or little sucking kisses on different places like the back of your knees or inside of your elbow.

8. Play middle school games.

It might sound silly, but there’s something fun and cute about remembering when you were first learning about falling in love or dating.

Make some cocktails then play a game of Truth or Dare (the sexier dares the better!). Later, you can even make some room in your closet for a little Seven Minutes in Heaven.

9. Send some naughty flowers.

Send a bouquet to your partner’s work. This seems innocent enough right? Make the note extra dirty with a fun message about what you plan to do to them when work’s over. Last year my boyfriend went the sweet route and surprised me with a bouquet of roses. He was traveling over Valentine’s Day and I didn’t expect anything at all!

Romantic young African couple

10. Breakfast in bed.

A simple and sweet gesture like breakfast in bed can be an incredibly romantic way to start your Valentine’s Day. My boyfriend and I started this tradition and every Sunday we have breakfast in bed.

11. Take a couple’s massage class—then try out what you learned on each other.

Research and find a reputable local couple’s massage class. When you’re home and cozy, practice on each other.

The best part about this is that it’s the gift that keeps on giving. It’s great to get a sexy massage on your anniversary or Valentine’s Day, but when my love gives me a relaxing massage it always leads to something else.

12. Get naughty at dinnertime.

If you’re heading out to dinner, get a little naughty under the table in between courses. Use your hands or your feet to make him feel a little extra excited for what comes after dessert.

13. Make dessert—and eat it off each other.

Some of my favorites are whipped cream, sprinkles, a scoop of ice cream, chocolate dipped fruit—the possibilities are endless.

14. Have sex before dinner.

There’s nothing more surprising than initiating a steamy love-making session before you leave for dinner. It’s enough to make you burn with passion over your appetizers and melt your dessert with lust.

15. Role play.

Even Modern Family’s Phil and Claire like to get a little role play going on Valentine’s Day. If you’re clueless on how to even start role playing, start simple—think of everyday scenarios between two people.

You could be teacher and student, doctor and patient, or repairman and homeowner.

blindfolded woman

16. Use a toy in front of your partner.

There’s just something I find utterly arousing about turning myself on while a significant other watches. Right before you finish, have a little romp together.

17. Take a staycation.

Book a hotel room or Airbnb together and enjoy fresh surroundings. Sometimes that’s all you need to rekindle the romance.

There are so many beautiful places that are different or creative. Boutique hotels or a bed and breakfast are all great options. One thing I love to do is find an Airbnb with a hot tub.

Enjoy fun and easy ways to spice up your Valentine’s Day.

Sometimes, this time of year can be downright depressing. Days are shorter and winter can be long and cold. Make your Valentine’s Day memorable this year with these suggestions. Hopefully it will be all you need to kick start your romance during the coldest time of the year.

Single this Valentine’s Day? Check out this guide to owning Valentine’s Day this year.

7 Love Lessons I Learned from the Amazon Show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

Did you fall in love with the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel too? I sure did.

After Mad Men ended, it seemed like we were left with a void of really good 1950s and ‘60s period shows.

Personally, I love the era and was excited to see The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, a show on Amazon that fit the bill. It premiered around the holidays and I never followed up with watching it. However, once it won a couple Golden Globes earlier this year, I was intrigued.

Here are seven love lessons I learned from the show. *Warning* Spoilers ahead.

1. Love yourself first.

Miriam “Midge” Maisel was a typical 1950s housewife, mid-20s, two children and a husband. She’s highly educated (Bryn Mawr) and was raised Jewish in the Upper West Side in New York City.

On the surface, her life seemed perfect. However, what struck a chord with me the most was how Midge couldn’t even get a good night’s sleep. She literally had to wait until her husband Joel fell asleep to creep into the bathroom and remove her makeup.

She then had to make sure she woke up before him to put the entire “face” back on before he woke up. It made me realize how important it is to love yourself first, that your significant other needs to see you, no makeup, bedhead and all. That is what true love is.

2. Love your career, even if it scares you.

Night after night of watching her husband bomb in stand-up comedy at a local café, Midge supported her significant other by bringing beef brisket to get him on stage at an earlier time.

She was meticulous about taking notes on Joel’s routine and it’s clear how much she enjoyed comedy. It wasn’t until he left her that she drunkenly headed to the same café and absolutely killed it in her own improv stand-up act.

Throughout the series, viewers see her fears combined with her “You know what, I actually don’t give a damn” attitude that made her rise to the top.

I personally chose freelance writing and teaching piano as a career path and it is scary. he money’s not the best and neither are the hours. That being said, it is a career I truly adore. I can’t imagine doing anything else now.

3. Love your co-workers.

When I worked full-time at a newspaper, I was overly cautious about my co-workers, particularly females—not Midge Maisel though.

When she gets a job at a department store makeup counter post-separation from her husband, she found a group of true female friends who support each other every step of the way. I learned that loving your co-workers is a great way to form a certain camaraderie. Support is so important, especially in this day and age.

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

4. Love life.

Midge didn’t take life too seriously, and that’s what made her so likeable. No matter what life brings your way, it’s important to remember to laugh at it sometimes.

Midge ended up breaking up with her partner, moved in with her parents and figured out life on her own for the first time at 26. I’ve always imagined I love life, but after watching Mrs. Maisel it is just reiterated it even more now. Loving life is so important. After all, we only get one chance.

5. Love your parents, they only want what’s best for you.

If you think your parents are meddling, just wait until you watch Midge’s. As much as I began to remember the times growing up where my own parents seemed to be prying, I also recalled how much they love me. They sacrificed so much for my four siblings and me and I know, just like Rose and Abe, Midge’s mother and father, they only want what’s best for me.

6. Love your heritage.

Midge was raised Jewish and while she often used her background as fodder for her comedy routine, she loved the heritage that made her who she was. It took until the very end of the season for her to finally use her real name, a decision she struggled with until the very end.

I learned that no matter what others say about the way I was raised, or my Catholic background, you name it, it is important to love your background. Also, as crazy as my last name is, I embrace it because it makes me unique and reminds me of my Ukrainian roots.

7. Love your city.

Midge just adored New York City, her hometown. The show did a wonderful job showing the city circa the late ‘50s.

I live in Washington, D.C. and sometimes I forget to take advantage of the gorgeous city I reside in. I realize now how much I need to be more like Midge and truly love my city. It’s important to get out and enjoy your local bars and restaurants and community events.

Often, I feel like life in my city sometimes passes me by when the weekend comes along, as I’m often too tired or lazy to get up and do something.

Amazon’s new show about a 1950s housewife has a lot of love lessons.

The winter can be a great time for binge watching a new show. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a wonderful new addition to Amazon’s show list. Not only is it entertaining, the show has a lot of lessons on love and life.

Interested in reading about a real-life standup comedian and her take on television? Check out this piece.

10 Creative Proposal Ideas Just In Time For Valentine’s Day

If your wish is for a completely untraditional proposal, you’ll want to read these 10 ideas for some inspiration.

If you’re thinking of popping the question this Valentine’s Day, you’ll want to read up on these creative proposal ideas.

There’s nothing better than being completely surprised by a marriage proposal. These ideas make for a memorable moment in the history of your partner and you. Taking the next step in your relationship is huge, why not make it special?

For couples who want a completely creative proposal experience, here are 10 one-of-a-kind wedding proposal ideas.

1. Use your furry loved one.

marriage proposal with pets dog

If your significant other and you own a dog or cat, tie the ring on a ribbon on their collar. Use one of those chalkboard signs like this cute bone-shaped one to write “Will you marry me?” on it. You can also design a pet-sized t-shirt that pops the question. I’m hoping our adorable English bulldog is how my boyfriend chooses to propose to me someday.

2. Hide the ring in a new article of clothing.

Set up the scene for a typical date night with a fancy twist—make dinner reservations or maybe get tickets to a musical. Here’s the twist—get your partner a new piece of clothing.

One of my best friends did this for his wife. He bought her a dress with pockets and laid it out for her before seeing the opera. She, being a woman who loves pockets on a dress, instantly stuck her hands in them and boom—there was the ring. Cue the awws!

3. Take out an ad in the newspaper.

marriage proposal in newspaper

As a journalist, I just swoon over this idea. Take out an ad in the newspaper and pitch a morning of croissants and coffee at your favorite park. Watch the surprise of your loved one as they find an ad that says “will you marry me?”

4. Use those glow-in-the-dark star stickers from your childhood.

Remember those glowing stars you used in your bedroom as a child? Spell out “WILL U MARRY ME?” on your ceiling or a wall. Take your significant other into a room, turn out the lights and make them look up. Grab some champagne and toast “underneath” the stars.

5. Create a custom puzzle.

I love making custom gifts for the holidays. This site has the opportunity to create a customized puzzle. Make it say “Marry me?” with your favorite picture of you two. Give it as a birthday or holiday gift. Wait until the perfect snowy or rainy afternoon comes up and suggest putting it together. Watch your future fiancé’s face light up as he or she begins to read what the puzzle says.

6. Channel Love Actually.

proposal ideas love actually

Everyone’s favorite holiday movie actually has the perfect proposal idea that’s glaring us all right in the face. Grab some poster board and channel Mark pining over Juliet with his message while “carolers” played.

This one works especially well if you live separately. Knock on your love’s door and get ready for some serious happy tears.

7. Use your partner’s co-workers or students.

I used to love watching The Office and thought that Jim and Pam’s wedding scene was tear-jerkingly perfect.

See if you can get your partner’s co-workers or students (if they’re a teacher), for a line dance or special proposal reveal. I’m not going to lie either, I still entertain the idea of making my future bridal party do a “Forever”-style dance down the aisle!

8. Grab a cereal box.

Remember the prizes inside cereal boxes you used to covet as a kid? This one is super cute—stuff the ring at the bottom of a cereal box and ask for help getting the prize out over breakfast one morning. Try not to give away how excited you are!

9. For TV fanatics, use Stranger Things

This one is definitely for the tech-savvy. You know how Joyce Byers had her ABC wall of holiday lights to communicate with Will? Set a similar one up and make it say “Marry me?” Chance are your Netflix-obsessed loved one will say yes in a heartbeat.

10. Breakfast in bed.

Valentine's Day proposal breakfast in bed

This may seem so simple and sweet but getting creative with food is always a fun idea. You can use blueberries atop fluffy pancakes to spell “WILL U MARRY ME?” or use bacon too if you’ve got a meat-loving significant other.

Use creative and unique ideas to propose this Valentine’s Day.

Sometimes, it seems like every fun proposal idea is taken. You’ve seen every down-on-one-knee, flowers in hand, perfect scene.

To wow your partner, try something new like these  10 unique proposal ideas that will make the day you get engaged one to remember.

Wondering if you’ll change your name after getting engaged? Check out this piece on changing your name after you’re married.

The Differing Valentine’s Day Plans from Seven Couples Around the U.S.

Valentine’s Day is on a Wednesday this year. What are you doing for the big day?

Ah, Valentine’s Day. That simultaneously loved and hated holiday that marks the fact that winter will be finally be ending in just a few short weeks.

If you’re wondering how others will be spending the holiday commemorating all things romance, here are just a few ways your fellow women will be celebrating the big V-Day. I always loved Valentine’s Day because it was a day I got to tell my friends and family how much I loved them without them looking at me like I was crazy. Whether I was single or taken, I always managed to have a fun and loving day.

While my plans were never anything all that special, I wanted to know what fellow females were up to on this special day.

Here are some of the plans ladies are doing this Valentine’s Day. I bet you can relate to many of them!

“Our first valentines Rob and I decided we were going to embrace the holiday for all its cheesiness! We were long distance at that point so we wanted to go all out. I flew to Michigan and we made a decision to find the most ridiculous but cheap candy or toy we could find in the store and find the most over-the-top card.

“On top of that we decided to pick a restaurant we would never normally go to so went to hibachi. Every year since then we have kept the tradition and the cards keep getting better and cheesier. We also almost know the hibachi routines by heart. I have bought him everything from a furry heart with beef jerky, funny game controller and this year a candy fishing tackle box!” – Dillon, VA

“I don’t have any official Valentine’s Day plans on the books, but if I were a betting woman my money would be on getting wine drunk on my couch with some girlfriends while having a movie (and food) binge.” – Jessica, VA

“It’s a Wednesday so it is going to be spent stabbing each other at fencing club. Real romantic. Haha.” – Katelyn, MD

“Haha I’m working 2 p.m. ‘til midnight on Valentine’s Day this year so I’m afraid my answer isn’t very exciting.” – Liz, D.C.

“Every year he’s ‘surprised’ me with a gift exchange and then we do dinner and the comedy club. We love laughing for Valentine’s Day.” – Christie, PA

“I have grad school that night, so I’ll be in class until 8ish. Then, I’ll go home and review my lesson plan for the next day and probably go to bed. Maybe I’ll treat myself to a pink sweet and I may make Valentines for my students.” – Erin, D.C.

“I doubt we’ll do much. My grandpa used to send me flowers every year whether I was in a relationship or not. It was something that always made my day, made me smile, and made me feel so loved and appreciated. As I slowly watch him decline, I know he won’t remember to send me anything. It’ll be a hard day thinking about the one person in my life who always loved me no matter what and who never once failed me. I will, however, forget about the fact that he’s not supposed to have sugar and send him chocolate.” — Sarah, D.C.

No matter how you choose to spend Valentine’s Day, it’s important to remember to do what’s best for you.

Valentine's Day Puppy

It’s okay to be single, it’s okay to do something sappy and romantic too, and it’s okay to remember those you love. Have fun and celebrate love. After all, that’s what the day is all about!

Let us know in the comments section below what you’ll be doing on Valentine’s Day and what it means to you.

Want to show us what #LoveIs and win big? Check out the contest we’re holding here.

The Best Lingerie for Hard to Find Sizes Just in Time for Valentine’s Day

If you’re anything like me, finding lingerie that fits can be hard.

I am a plus-sized woman with small breasts. I have larger hips and broad shoulders, but am narrower in between there. Finding lingerie can often be a nightmare. I’m sure many of you can relate.

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to meet plus-size model Ashley Graham through a work event. I immediately felt the need to approach her and tell her thank you—thank you for being a role model, for showing me that it’s so important to feel comfortable in your own skin. She told me that having confidence comes from within, then she told me I was gorgeous. I’ll never forget that brief meeting and very time I see Ashley modeling lingerie, I remember I can do that too if I really wanted to!

If your wish is to look extra sexy this Valentine’s Day, here are six different body types and some recommendation pieces of lingerie for those hard to find sizes.

1. For plus-sized women with smaller breasts.

I recommend Torrid for plus-size lingerie for women with smaller breasts who may still have larger band sizes. This gorgeous red and white bra and panty set perfect for Valentine’s Day goes up to size 44B. If a seriously sexy black is more your style, you’ll want to try this set that also goes to 44B.

2. For curvy women with large breasts.

Valentine's Day Lingerie for curvy women

Curvy women with larger breasts who want something on trend and provocative enough for Valentine’s Day, Lane Bryant is a wonderful option. This provocative strapless number was such a best-seller it’s only available in a size 40G—perfect for curvier ladies. If your wish is for something a little more unexpected, this fishnet lace high-neck French balconette bra is a great choice.

3. For ladies with small busts.

Small busts have just as much problems as larger ones trying to find the perfect piece of lingerie for a special night like Valentine’s Day. Luckily, sites like Agent Provocateur carry plenty of sizes for our smaller breasted brethren. There’s even a gorgeous Valentine’s Day collection!

4. For long and lean ladies.

I’ve always adored Aerie and their cute choices for undergarments. If you’re planning on a low-key Valentine’s Day give one of their pieces a try. This day to play plunge push-up comes in a provocative black and this padded plunge bralette is a casual way to take Valentine’s Day off and enjoy it in bed with your partner.

5. For short and curvy girls.

Valentine's day lingerie

The tried and true Victoria’s Secret has so many choices, many of which short and curvy girls will find a good fit. There’s a sexy floral lace plunge teddy perfect for Valentine’s evening that comes in five different colors. There’s also a simple and sweet satin and lace slip that’s a sure bet for a fun Valentine’s Day (or any day for that matter!).

6. For larger-hipped ladies.

Hips & Curves has sizes from large all the way to 6x. Larger hips are accommodated with absolutely stunning lingerie like this Mon Amour Charmeuse Corset. Flatter hips with pieces like this tie bust babydoll with rhinestone buckle and marabou.

Shopping for lingerie doesn’t have to be frustrating.

Hard to find sizes don’t have to be hard to find with this list of great places for gorgeous lingerie. Whether you have large breasts or are long and lean, there’s something for everyone.

Make this Valentine’s Day one to remember with spectacular lingerie.

Interested in proposing this Valentine’s Day? Check out our ideas in this piece.

How Valentine’s Day Has Completely Changed For Me Through the Years

From grade school shoe boxes full of Valentines to red roses from my longtime boyfriend, Valentine’s Day has certainly evolved for me.

Valentine’s Day was always a day I enjoyed telling my closest friends and family how much I loved them. Over the years I’ve had plenty of stories to tell, but they’ve all gone back to one central theme—love.

Whether it was choosing the perfect themed Valentine’s to write out to my class, going to the yearly “date dance” in high school or celebrating a deeper kind of love with my longtime boyfriend, I made sure everything on Valentine’s Day revolved around love.

Here are how Valentine’s Day has changed in my life from my childhood through my teenage years.

Valentine’s Day during childhood is the most adorable time ever.

valentine's day children

Remember those boxes of Valentines you could get at your local K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Target or CVS? They often revolved around what was popular among the youth zeitgeist of the time. I lived for those! I’m aging myself here, but Beauty and the Beast Valentines were an absolute must in second grade.

Later in junior high, Spice Girls Valentines were definitely something I begged my parents for. I remember sorting through the 30 or so Valentines in each pack and making sure my crush always got the one that was extra flirty (this never ended up working in my favor).

The worst classmate of mine always got the ugliest one and my best friend always got my favorite, of course.

In my family life, my parents always did something so simple that made me feel like I had so much worth. On Valentine’s Day morning, my brother and sisters and myself would each receive a heart-shaped box of candy. Just a little something to say I love you, I later have adopted this practice in my adult life. I am so grateful we grew up with parents like ours.

Valentine’s Day as a teen was like Galentine’s Day before it was a “thing.”

teen girls having fun

I didn’t date anyone until I was in college and went to an all-girls high school. Needless to say, Valentine’s Days during my teenage years were spent with friends.

Some of my favorite memories were spent on a riverboat where I grew up in Pittsburgh. My school had a yearly Valentine’s Day dance called “Date Dance.” The rules were ridiculous, that you absolutely had to bring a date so many of us awkward teens attending our all-female school had trouble finding dates (like yours truly!).

We all ended up just asking friends of friends to accompany us as our “dates” and we often abandoned the guys and danced the night away together. I still have a keychain of myself and seven of my closest girlfriends from a Valentine’s Day in the early 2000s. Chances are we had just finished dancing to some old school Britney, Backstreet Boys or N*SYNC.

The best Valentine’s Day come from the days I spent as a young adult.

My best Valentine’s Days from my young adulthood were all about self love. Every year I would head to this local restaurant just a few blocks from my apartment and get a slice of their mud pie.

This wasn’t just any mud pie, it was literally heaven on a plate. I’d always do something else too, like take a yoga class or take myself to see the Garry Marshall movie Valentine’s Day or He’s Just Not That Into You. Seeing He’s Just Not That Into You on Valentine’s Day by myself was so completely liberating.

I learned a lot about myself during those years. I learned to enjoy my own company and that spending a day about love solo really isn’t so lonely after all.

While I spent a lot of time on my own, I also started a very important tradition to me in my young adult years. When Nora Ephron’s “Julie and Julia” was released in 2009, I instantly fell in love with the film and the spirit of Julia Child.

From that year forward, I’ve made Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon for a fancy dinner party with my closest friends. I love getting everyone together in honor of Valentine’s Day. This year will be our ninth in a row.

Today, things are different. Very different.

adorable couple on valentine's day

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for six years now. We have had plenty of Valentine’s Day memories that we laugh about and love to reminisce about too. There was a year where we were planning on going out to a fancy dinner, but a huge snow squall hit on Valentine’s evening.

We stayed in and watched Netflix with our dog and had the best time. Then there were three separate years I won the same restaurant’s Valentine’s Day contest. It got embarrassing by the third year and my boyfriend and I laughed how each consecutive year we would get just a little less prizes—eliminating roses, wine and free dessert.

They are still three of the best meals we’ve ever had with the best restaurant staff! My boyfriend always likes to buy me flowers or a sweet card or just a little something to make the day extra special too. Of course we always spoil our English bulldog Moe too. The memories we’ve made have created a deeper sort of love.

Throughout my life, I’ve always loved and appreciated Valentine’s Day. While its meaning has changed over the years, or I’ve focused more on a particular kind of love (friend love, familial love, self love, the love I have for my partner) the central theme has always been love.

I believe the world can always be a kinder place, so this Valentine’s Day, no matter what you choose to do, be kind and show some love. Chances are, someone may need it!

Valentine’s Day is great, but what about showing love all year ‘round? Check out this piece.

Growing Up Catholic Impacted My Dating Life More Than You Might Think

Growing up, I never gave that much thought to how dating would go being Catholic. It was always just part of my life and a huge part of who I am.

I attended Catholic elementary school and an all-girls Catholic high school. I didn’t date in high school and honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I had the freedom to explore who I was and I never once had a boy define me. I don’t remember my prom date’s name, only that he arrived with a hat and cane (which I laugh at to this day).

Moving on to college, things were a different story. I didn’t date much in college either, just briefly at the end of my senior year. Much to my surprise, I ended up becoming close to two men. They became my two closest friends and we did everything together, even touring Europe when we were 25.

Over the years I would come close to thinking about exploring a deeper relationship with both of them, but the friendship we had was too good to mess with. I think that being friends with these two men, I ended up learning about everything I missed out on, such as how to not blush at the mention of sex, what men really want in a woman, you name it.

One of the guys even gifted me a book, The Catholic Girls’ Guide to Sex as a joke for my birthday. I read it cover to cover and still own it to this day. It definitely is a source for some laughs!

a catholic's guide to dating

The “talk” from my father came when I was leaving for college.

When I left for college, my dad told me to always remember my faith and my family. My family is incredibly close and I’ve taken the faith aspect to heart.

In fact, once when one of those male friends and myself came close to exploring a deeper relationship, I was nervous about staying up too late and missing Mass (basically church services for those who are unfamiliar) the next day. It turns out, I ended up making it with plenty of time to spare.

Post-college, I had a couple dates that ended up forging friendships. One man even invited me to his wedding in Texas—his husband and he have been happily married for years. We still text and laugh about our time together. I always believe if a relationship doesn’t work out, a friendship is always a possibility. A little “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” if you will.

All the while, I knew that I didn’t want to lose my virginity to any of these men. My reasons were a little bit romantic, as I wanted to wait for the perfect man and the perfect moment. Other reasons had to do with the way I was raised—in the Catholic church.

I almost always mention at some point or another how I am Catholic. I never, ever try and “shove my religion down people’s throats,” as I believe religion should be a personal and completely intimate choice. However, sometimes I wonder if me being religious makes some men see me as a conquest, an “oh I can get the Catholic girl to have sex with me.” I’ll admit, it is tempting.

I met a man when I was 26 who I figured out was the nephew of a famous photographer. After our first date getting drinks, he walked me to my door and I invited him in. I mixed another drink and he didn’t seem interested.

Instead, he just went right for the kill and started making out. He reached behind and unhooked my bra then started for my jeans. I immediately knew it didn’t feel right and stopped him, asking to get to know him more first. He unfortunately ghosted me soon after. It’s a great story to tell now.

But then I met the perfect person.

After another miss in the relationship department, I met a really genuinely good guy. I have been dating this wonderful man for almost six years now. He’s gone to church many times with me, for funerals and weddings and other family events.

He was raised Christian and he thinks it’s awesome I am a church usher and have become friends with two 80-somethings at my church. My boyfriend has even expressed interest in learning more about the Catholic church, which I think is really amazing. He’s respectful and kind and has taught me so much about what it means to be in a truly mature, adult relationship.

After years of misses and praying for a good match, I think I’m finally where I’m meant to be with who I’m meant to be with. I just needed a little faith in myself.

Being religious and dating doesn’t always have to be boring.

Being raised Catholic certainly didn’t mean the author led a boring dating life. From her prom date to her most recent boyfriend, author Kate Oczypok explores what life is like dating as a modern Catholic woman.

Interested in a funny take on virginity? Check out this piece on being a 30-year-old virgin.

My Journey Toward Loving Myself at Any Weight

The highest weight I’ve ever been is something I never care to revisit—however, I’ve learned to love my body image no matter what the number is on the scale.

I’ve been just over 300 pounds and just under 200 pounds and everything in between. As I’ve journeyed in between those 100 pounds, I’ve learned a lot about myself.

Most importantly, I’ve learned to love myself no matter what the number says on the scale. There are days I struggle (and I mean truly struggle!) with appreciating me for me, but I know as long as I’m healthy that’s all that matters.

Here is just a brief glimpse into my journey with the scale.

I spent my childhood getting stuck in Lane Bryant dresses. In grade school, the boys in my class used to make fun of me that my butt wouldn’t fit on the small, child-sized seats. My seventh grade bathing suit consisted of a leopard print one-piece with a bust minimizer purchased from the Macy’s plus-sized women’s department—not exactly something a 12-year-old would be happy about.

I vividly remember one particularly snowy October my soccer team was losing by one goal. My coach chose to put me in as goalie and the other team’s girls were teasing me relentlessly saying “You’re putting HER in goal?” Thank God that time, my uncoordinated self blocked a kick and we made it downfield to win.

However, there was still high school when I wore size 30 tapered khakis for our school uniform instead of the flared versions most of my friends had. I rocked gold lamé pants and red velvet ones too. Both were from Lane Bryant before they started selling trendier clothes.

My freshman year of college, I decided not to walk about a mile to the grocery store with this guy I had a crush on. Every time we all took a trip to the mall, I longed to try out a Victoria’s Secret bra. Too bad most clothing manufacturers don’t understand that while you may have a large band size, cup size isn’t necessarily always large!

Years later, you know those little pictures that pop up on the side of your Facebook page? I used to hate them. I never used to like those pictures because people would see them and immediately say, “Wow you lost so much weight! How did you do it?”

curvy woman working out

Anyway, the whole weight loss thing started off as sort of an accident then grew to something a little more inspiring. When I started my freshman year of college, I automatically began walking more and the weight began to slowly come off. However, I still prided myself on never setting foot in my university’s fitness center. I was stubborn and always told my friends I was fine with being the biggest among us, or perhaps dating a guy who weighed less than me.

My senior year when the girls I lived with were giving me trouble, I began taking long walks to clear my head. Pounds began shedding a little more easily and I was hooked on the results.

This brings me into all my fat girl neuroses. I had always had a thing about going to gyms. I used to think everyone would be staring at the fat girl walking into the gym, wondering why she was there. That’s why I invested in two DVDs by the great Richard Simmons.

I kept this a secret for many weeks from my friends, but they found out quite easily. Let’s just say being friends with two boys really gives you a thick skin. It became such an ongoing joke that one of them sent me an “I party with Richard Simmons” t-shirt.

All that chorus line kicking and self-loving Richard professed in Sweatin’ to the Oldies did have its advantages though. I got down to a size 20 without even setting foot in my apartment building’s tiny overcrowded gym. This was accompanied with getting off the bus earlier and walking a few extra blocks to work and taking the stairs to my seventh floor apartment.

The other neurosis I had (and still have occasionally) involves going out to eat with friends. I would freak out if one male friend preferred a salad to French fries with his burger and constantly worried I’d be seen as “fry girl”—you know, the stereotypical fat girl munching on fries to no avail.

At one point, I only ate half of a cheeseburger I was so scared I looked bad. Now, I realize how incredibly ridiculous I was and I now know one cupcake here and there won’t hurt.  Sometimes, you just have to give in to your cravings.

Then one night, I did it. I couldn’t believe I worked up the nerve to walk downstairs. My old building had a gym in the basement and I don’t know what possessed me to go downstairs but I did. I sat on the exercise bike and made it all of 20 minutes before stopping. I cranked up my iPod and tried my darnedest not to let even one thought about the other people in the gym get to me.

As much as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue, I knew I had to do it. Pretty soon, I was not only walking on the treadmill but navigating the elliptical and Stairmaster too. I moved apartments the following winter and I soon became a regular at my new building’s downstairs fitness center.

curvy woman running

My lunches I packed for work got lighter and I became a fan of things I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be eating—Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, granola. The crazy thing is, I found that I actually liked those foods. You also won’t believe it but it’s not that hard to not want to go back to greasy foods like pizza (although I definitely splurge a lot of weekends).

The first spring I was at my new building, I began jogging outside. My friends were shocked that I was exerting myself while on display to the thousands of people on my busy street.

You know what’s the crazy part? How all the women’s magazines I’m obsessed with, all the trainers and athletes, they’re all actually right about something—jogging is a huge stress reliever for me. The most I’ve ever jogged at once is about four miles but the decisions I’ve made, anger I’ve lessened and happiness I’ve achieved while pounding the pavement is countless.

I’ve always been a big lover of holidays and celebrations so naturally I had mini-celebrations with myself during all my weight loss milestones. When I lost 50 lbs, I celebrated with a slice of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake. When my size hit the teens, it was a shopping spree at the nearby Gap.

But story didn’t end here either.

Crunch Gym opened up a franchise near my apartment and I became intrigued and instantly had to join.

There was this one class, “The Athlete’s Workout,” that I took one evening. It was a warm and humid day outside and the instructor chose to take the class outdoors. My instinct told me to run far away from the situation but I told myself no.

An hour later, I’d run suicides, did Army crawls and did enough lunges that my legs felt like Jello. With dirt on my cheeks and my messy ponytail becoming undone, I practically skipped the three blocks home.

I remember wishing my grade school and high school teachers could see me now. Decades ago, I was the kid who walked the mile run, or continually moved to the back of the kickball line so I didn’t have to take a turn. Occasionally, I’d hide behind the church convent to avoid running.

Just over 10 years later, I’ve gained back some of the weight I’ve lost. I’m still proud to say I’m 60 pounds lighter than I was in high school. As a freelance writer and piano teacher to 22 kids and two adults and caring for a very needy English bulldog, life is busier than it was when I was working at a newspaper. I still try to get to my apartment’s gym three or four days per week and we have a gorgeous trail right near our apartment that I love to walk and jog on in the spring and summer.

My food choices have their good and bad days, but I know that it’s important that I am healthy. I know my “numbers” as the doctors say, and while I’ll always have to be careful, I know that I am doing okay. I’ll never be a size 2. Honestly, at 5’11” that wouldn’t look all that natural anyway!

My relationship with my weight will always be a struggle. I still think about most food that goes into my mouth and weigh myself often, if only to keep myself in line. It’s absolutely pivotal to remember that I am still the same person inside as I always was, no matter what the scale says. I’m still obsessed with chick lit novels and romantic comedies. I love entertaining friends at my apartment and hosting parties that revolve around the holidays.

I’ve finally realized what’s five or 10 lbs. gained or lost here and there? As long as I am healthy and happy that’s all that matters. Writing about my weight loss so personally for the first time has definitely opened up my eyes to what I’ve accomplished and the fact that I should be excited about what I’ve done. If anything I’ve become so much more active than I was at 16 and 17, even 21. Why hide something that I should be proud of, right? Oh and those gold lamé pants? I can fit my whole self in one pant leg now.

Interested in reading more about self love? Check out this piece from 2016 on how you can achieve self love faster than you think. If you want to join us in more positive and affirming wellness information, join LOVE TV

The Happiest Moment of My Life (So Far) Was With Those I’ll Love Forever

No, it’s not what you think. The happiest moment of my life so far was a day I felt unequivocally carefree with friends I love.

The happiest moment of my life so far wasn’t the day my boyfriend asked me to be his girlfriend. Sure, that was a very happy time, but the one I’m about to tell you about was a different kind of love.

It wasn’t the day we got my dog Moe either. That too was a wonderful moment I’ll always remember. This day happened on vacation in Europe with my two best friends when I was in my mid-20s.

Here is a snippet of a time in my life I felt truly, utterly happy.

Many would probably expect me to answer this question as the day I met my boyfriend, or the day I got my dog, or perhaps something involving my family. Sure, those days are all joyful ones in my life of course, but there’s one moment in one day that I remember feeling truly and incredibly happy. I’ve always considered myself a happy person but this particular moment stood out for me for the past six years as my happiest.

It was the summer I turned 26 and I was on my first trip across the world, to Munich, Germany, Brussels, Belgium and Paris, France. A self-described hopeless romantic, I was so excited to be in Paris. I was on this trip of a lifetime with my two best friends, both males.

The three of us had become a The Hangover-like trio, even nicknaming ourselves after characters in the movie. We were constantly on all kinds of adventures. I felt safe and secure with the two, and had been in love with both of them (and very briefly dated one) at some point over the eight years previous. I was dating another man at the time and was eager to get away for a bit as I wasn’t sure exactly if I was all that excited about him (we ended up breaking up later that fall).

We gallivanted all around Paris for three glorious days. It was the time before ISIS threatened in the shadows and we could safely walk the streets without any worry. I remember seeing Versailles, Notre Dame and the Moulin Rouge. One evening, the three of us were sitting outside one of the quintessential Parisian cafés, sipping beers while taking a break from sightseeing. We were laughing hysterically at excerpts from my diary, which I had brought along to chronicle my European travels.

friends traveling and hanging out

After some loud stomach rumbling, we all agreed it was time to find somewhere to eat dinner. We stumbled upon a small and cozy-looking restaurant tucked into a corner of Paris, near the Sainte-Chapelle. From the outside, there’s nothing all that special about L’Auberge Café. Its brown and beige exterior is elegant but not too fancy.

Either way, we were excited about finally getting some food and the menu posted outside looked good. When we sat down, we took in the rustic atmosphere at the quiet restaurant. It was intimate and homey, a completely perfect surprise to us.

The dinner we had that night was for lack of a better term, incredible. There wasn’t anything too fancy about it either but it hands down was one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had in my almost 33 years.

I had a beef tenderloin, potatoes, peas and onions in a dark, savory sauce. My one friend dined on duck, a signature entrée of the restaurant and the other chose a fish fillet. We sampled fresh prawns, spicy gazpacho and an absolutely to die for molten chocolate dome dessert with the most decadent of melted French dark chocolate inside. With a bottle of the house wine, we made sure to make it a truly incredible night.

I know what you’re thinking—this doesn’t seem like it deserves the title “happiest moment of your life.” The funny thing is, despite how brief that dinner was in the hindsight of things, while I was sitting there I felt truly completely happy. It was a moment of my life I will remember forever. It was young enough not to have to worry too much about the future but old enough to truly appreciate that moment in time.

Now, whenever I am feeling anxious or just need to take a moment to close my eyes and relax, I always recall that dinner with my two best friends in one of my favorite cities in the world—remembering what it feels like to be completely, unapologetically happy.


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An Inside Look at Vaginal Rejuvenation

Is a vaginal rejuvenation procedure, or vaginal tightening, an ideal option for you? We explore the hot topic so popular it was recently part of a storyline on Grey’s Anatomy.

We explore what exactly the procedure means, hear from a medical professional based in New York City and get some opinions from real women on whether or not they think the procedure is right for them.

Here is an in-depth look at vaginal rejuvenation. And if you’re searching for a little extra help rekindling your sex life after children, join LOVE TV.

What exactly is vaginal (or more commonly) feminine rejuvenation?

Feminine rejuvenation is defined as a range of aesthetic and functional procedures in the female genital region to correct and restore the optimum structural form of the vagina and surrounding tissues and to improve hydration and elasticity in the vaginal mucosa, according to nurse practitioner Marianne Woody with input from Dr. Bruce Katz of Juva Skin and Laser, which serves the New York City and Manhattan areas.

What are the goals of the procedure?

Most women have the procedure to tighten things “down there.” A lot end up doing it to regain sexual pleasure too. Some may have more serious issues involving urinary incontinence, so they opt for a feminine rejuvenation.

Is the procedure growing in popularity?


According to Woody and Katz, it is. At Juva, they have four different devices to address feminine rejuvenation and they are non-surgical. There are options like the “Femi-lift,” which allows for three short laser procedures spaced a month apart. There’s also radiofrequency based devices like the “ThermiVa,” which treats both the labia and vagina itself to make things tighter.

“The treatment is painless and feels like a warm massage,” Woody said.

There’s also the “ULTRA Femme 360,” which provides a complete vaginal rejuvenation using radiofrequency technology and only lasts 20-30 minutes with four treatments once again, about a month apart.

The newest device in use at Juva tackles the problem of urinary incontinence. “EMSELLA” is FDA approved and is a non-invasive treatment that deals with helping not only urinary incontinence but pelvic floor prolapse and vaginal relaxation. The “EMSELLA” chair strengthens your pelvic floor muscles by focusing on electromagnetic waves and works in a way similar to Kegel exercises.

Are there any risks to these procedures?

Woody and Katz advised that no pregnant women should participate in any feminine rejuvenation procedures. There are also precautions to avoid any treatment should you currently have an active vaginal infection or current Pap smear that showed any malignancy. For certain procedures, women should abstain from intercourse for approximately three to seven days after their treatment. Some procedures, like the ThermiVa and EMSELLA, you can have sex right away.

Why would a woman be interested in one of these procedures?

“Women may not report symptoms because they are self-treating,” Woody said. “They may feel the symptoms are not important enough or are embarrassed.”

According to Woody, things like menopause, childbirth, lifestyle and weight gain can all lead to vaginal irregularities. Women may feel a loss of self-confidence or not want to exercise as often. They also may have unpleasant sexual relations or even social problems like isolation and an effect on their mental well-being.


Are the procedures typically covered by insurance companies? What is the typical cost?

The procedures are FDA approved for aesthetic devices and according to Woody, not covered by insurance. Costs range anywhere from $400 to up to $1,500 depending on what type of treatment you choose.

What has been the feedback from the procedure from those who’ve gotten it done before?

Some participants show improvement after one treatment while others respond after two or three completed procedures. “I have had patients report that the procedure ‘changed her life!’” Woody said. Katz and Woody mentioned patients have responded positively, with reports of vaginal tightening, increased lubrication and more intense orgasms.

Real women’s opinions.

“I think I would definitely do it later in life especially if I had kids,” said Jill, who is in her 30s. “I heard the extra stitch is a real thing—it’s never the same especially after having more than one kid, so if that’s the case and it makes you feel better about yourself and desirable again, why not?”

Jane*, a pediatrician in her 30s as well, said that a labiaplasty is just plastic surgery on your labia to make them look more even.

“There really is no medical reason to get one, though sometimes the extra labia can get in the way during sex or cause discomfort, so people have the procedure done,” she added. “Otherwise, any surgery to make your vagina ‘tighter’ is just ridiculous and unproven to work.”

Crystal, who is in her 30s as well, thought about vaginal rejuvenation and at first compared it to extreme vajazzling, but “just couldn’t get behind it.”

“The more I think about it, I don’t really see vaginal reconstruction as being any different than ‘mommy makeovers’ which I am all for it a woman feels self-conscious about it,” she said. “I think sexually, we are so much more in our heads and we think about every flaw we have instead of always being in the moment.”

While she can’t personally say if she would do it given she hasn’t had any children, Crystal said “if we can all get behind Kylie Jenner’s lips I support anyone who wants a tighter downstairs situation for themselves.”

Vaginal (or feminine) rejuvenation may seem a bit extreme, but for some, it might be just what you need.

Feminine rejuvenation can be a great way for women to feel less self-conscious and regain their sexual pleasure again. It also can cost up to $1,500 with no help from insurance, making it hard for many to afford.

*Name has been changed

Interested in intimacy techniques that don’t require penetrative sex? Check out this piece.

Here Are 15 Essential Tips for Dating in Your 30s

Your 30s are an interesting decade and if you are single, we put together some tips on dating.

Whether you’re just getting out of a long-term relationship, divorcing, or seem to be perpetually single, dating in your 30s can often be tough yet eye-opening. So, we put together a guide for those who might need some extra dating help.

Don’t forget, we can help break through the noise of the dating world and streamline your success. Join LOVE TV today! 

Here are 15 tips on dating in your 30s.

1. Don’t settle!

This is the number one piece of advice for women not only in their 30s, but any age. Your 30s in particular though are the in-between, often confusing decade. You are no longer a teen or 20-something but not quite an experienced 40-something. It’s important to remember that you never, ever have to settle. Everyone has been single at some point—you were a strong and independent woman then, why not now?

2. Don’t get too giddy about each new date.

couple on a date

I’m all for getting excited and optimistic about things (you should see me at Christmastime). However, with dating it’s important to stay calm and focused and remember to really think about whether or not you’re truly compatible with the person. Sure, there’s physical attraction, but know that will eventually fade. You’ll need to think about whether or not you can be best friends with that person.

3. Don’t get too hung up on your age.

If you’re 35, so what? Even if you’re approaching 40, who cares? Age is really just a number. I’m not saying date the first 18-year-old you meet, but remember that if you’re compatible with someone significantly younger or much older than you, it’s okay to go for it. You never know where the relationship will go.

4. Do use apps.

This one is for those getting out of long-term relationships. Chances are, your ex-husband or boyfriend was not met over one of the numerous dating apps out there. Now that you’re newly single, check out the options. I have known many, many people who have met over online dating apps and ended up married or in a wonderful, loving relationship.

5. Take advantage of work events.

Work is probably where you spend most of your time, right? Those happy hours or networking events are great places to meet people. Even if you’re not into anyone from work or don’t believe in dating someone you work with, you could meet a friend of a friend. That friend of a friend could be perfect for you!

6. You’re not as young as you were.

passionate young couple

This may sound harsh, but it’s essential to remember that you might not want to meet someone at a bar. In your 30s, you may find the love of your life at the gym, in the grocery store or even waiting in line at the post office. Never lose the optimistic romantic views you once had in your 20s, but keep an open mind as to where you could meet someone.

7. It’s okay to be confused or on the fence about someone.

You may read about people feeling so confident or knowing exactly what they want in their 30s, but it is totally and completely fine to not feel that way. Not freaking out about your confusion is important. Just take things one step at a time.

8. Know what is make-or-break for you and stick to it.

If things like faith and family are important to you, stick to your guns. Same with any sort of values, be it political, drugs, alcohol, or just plain being kind to others. If someone you meet does something that is just not okay, don’t stick around just for the sex, or just to be in a relationship. It’s not fair to you or to them either.

9. Kids can complicate things.

This one is especially for those who’ve been previously married. If you ended up with kids and are now finding yourself single, just remember that dating can be hard. Many men can be scared that you already have kids or just plain don’t want them. It’s important to weed out those types of men and find one that you and your children especially adore and love.

10. Issues get heavier and darker.

As sad as this one is, be aware that the older you get, the more life happens to you. You could meet someone dealing with a sick parent or a parent that has passed away. Others can be dealing with health issues themselves, including things as serious as fertility problems to more everyday concerns like changes in diet.

11. Don’t be so set in your ways that you aren’t open to new experiences.

couple on a date

You swore you’d never date a Republican. You said your whole life you would never ever be in a relationship with someone who was a fan of your most hated sports team. Things like that are better off abandoned in your 20s. In your 30s, it’s crucial to be able to keep your mind open to new experiences and not become a curmudgeonly old biddy decades too early.

12. Nobody, and I mean nobody, is perfect.

Absolutely nobody is perfect and it’s so critical to remember this, especially in your 30s. You will never find a flawless man. After all, isn’t that what love is about—knowing and accepting a partner’s quirks and differences?

13. Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve, but it’s okay to be vulnerable.

This may seem like contradictory advice. However, it is true. Don’t open yourself up to just anyone. As I previously mentioned, you may have more baggage in your 30s. Not being completely trustworthy of someone right off the bat is okay. At the same time, even if you’ve been hurt in the past, it’s okay to open yourself up to that vulnerability. It will be scary at first, but I promise it’ll be worth it.

14. Be aware you may be intimidating to younger men.

You may not have officially reached cougar status yet, but being aware that you may be a little on the terrifying side to young ones is an aspect of your age to remember. Embrace your age and use it to your advantage. Feeling sexier, more confident and beautiful is a great asset to being in your more experienced 30s.

15. Have fun!

Last but not least, life is short. Have fun dating. If anything, you will have some wonderful, hilarious stories to share with friends and loved ones.

Looking for ways to meet people besides dating apps? Check out this piece.

Education, Careers and More: Do They Really Affect Dating?

I set out to talk to women from various urban areas and also had an interesting conversation with a sociology professor and a man’s opinion too.

I recently read a Washingtonian magazine article on how difficult dating can be in my city, which is populated by mostly professional people that work in or with government and policy issues. It claimed that dating is difficult because we’re all too educated. I don’t think women necessarily have a hard time dating due to education. I think it’s all about weeding through your choices until you find someone that’s right for you.

I’ve dated a law student, med student, DJ and finally found my match in a government employee. I do place value on education, but I know it’s not for everyone. While it sometimes seems like it’s hard to find men in general, I am a firm believer that the right person is out there. Call me a hopeless romantic and idealist but I think if you’re meant to find someone you will.

If you’re having trouble finding the right person, you’re not alone. Let us help you streamline the process. Join LOVE TV today.

Professor Paula England, Sociology, New York University

Right now more women than men are going to and completing college than men and that’s been true for approximately 20 years. Actually, the gap is increasing not because the statistic is going down for men, it’s because women’s numbers are actually going up faster.

If you go back far enough in history, there were many more men getting college degrees, but it’s since been reversed. There’s been more stigma in the past when a wife has more education than the husband compared to vice versa.

Many women with college degrees are marrying men without them. What this article says about the education gap is correct. This used to be a predictor of divorce because nobody was meeting gendered expectations, however it seems to not be predicting divorce as much anymore.

Mostly, the thing to know is this isn’t so much about big cities. It’s really a national phenomenon, there’s nothing unique about cities like Washington, D.C. or New York City.

smart woman

Teresa, Pittsburgh

Teresa has lived in Pittsburgh her entire life except three years spent on active duty in the Army in the Carolinas. She has a master’s degree in international affairs. She considers herself not overworked as she is a 100 percent disabled veteran and has a psychiatric disability.

“Little, everyday things are stressful so the thought of dating right now is not on my mind,” she said.

As far as dating apps, Teresa thinks they’re good for people like her as she doesn’t go to work or out to bars so she doesn’t have a lot of opportunities to meet people.

When it comes to dates, Teresa said that usually when men or women ask what she does, she says she’s a disabled vet. “Then I have to explain what’s wrong with me,” she said. “I usually don’t get a second date after that.”

Lily*, New York City

Lily has lived in New York City since 2010. She has a bachelor’s degree with some additional certifications in her field.

She believes that being overworked or overstressed affects your dating prospects only if you want it to. “There is always an excuse to find reasons why dating isn’t working for you, especially in a place like New York City,” Lily said. “However, if you’re able to separate work from life it becomes a lot easier.”

None of Lily’s dates really talk about education or career extensively as that’s usually covered in the texting and online portion before she meets them.

Memorable stories from Lily’s dating past include a firefighter that had free access to the top of the Empire State building. “You could tell he took women on this date pretty much every night because he rushed through the whole thing, knew the exact spots to point out and then immediately tried to come home with me.” Yikes.

There was another that showed up 45 minutes late with bad breath (ugh). There was a post-season Yankees game on and Lily is a huge fan. She sat in silence with the guy through the extra innings and finally made an excuse to leave. “The time in between leaving and getting home, Derek Jeter broke his foot,” she said. “I will never forgive that man.”

Kat, Washington, D.C. area

policewoman outside of the White House

Kat has lived in the D.C. area for 33 years—her entire life. She has a bachelor’s degree.

She considers herself an introverted person, so if she doesn’t practice self-care, she will have no energy to interact with strangers even through a dating app. “At one point in my 20s, I was working over 80 hour weeks for not enough money and I basically had no time for anything except falling exhausted into my bed each night,” Kat said.

If Kat works too hard she scrimps on things like cooking healthy meals or prepping lunches then she ends up feeling “gross and unattractive.”

“As I’ve gotten older, I do a better job screening potential employers for work/life balance and other benefits,” she said. “But yeah, it was especially tough in my 20s when I was trying to establish a career.”

Education hasn’t been discussed on any of Kat’s first dates, as far as she can remember. “Careers used to be discussed extensively, but now feels very taboo to bring it up too early because D.C. people are over it,” she said. “Usually someone who is discussing their career, bragging about a Hill job is someone you don’t really want to be with.”

In her 20s, Kat came across a lot of men who outright lied about their careers. One told her he worked for D.C. United (an American professional soccer team based in D.C.). Kat later found out he volunteered once a month with the team. The same man implied heavily he had graduated with a four-year degree when he’d never finished. “I really don’t care too much about that stuff, but lying about it is certainly a red flag.”

Bill, Orlando

Bill is married and lives in Orlando, Florida. To him, when he was dating, education wasn’t as high of a priority as worldliness and an intelligent sense of things and the ability to learn.

“I lived in Washington, D.C. and Orlando when I was single and dating a lot,” he said. “I don’t think too much about statistics that more women are going to college because to me, education, or rather a degree has become a commodity.”

Bill added that investing many years and dollars can hopefully parlay into a career, if you get lucky. “Other than that, you’re doing to have to marry into your success,” he said.